Dartmouth Police Address Social Media Post About ‘Suspicous’ Man in Target
DARTMOUTH (WBSM) — Dartmouth Police say there was no crime after a woman posted on social media that a suspicious man was following her and staring at her in the Dartmouth Target store.
The woman posted on Facebook Friday morning at 11:40 a.m. that she was in Target when she “caught this older man looking at (her) from afar.” She said he was staring at her and making her feel uncomfortable.
She stated that the man followed her into another aisle, and then later was standing at the end cap of another aisle “waiting” for her.
“I couldn't help but blurt out ‘Can I help you?’” she wrote. “He proceeded to tell me he was just looking around and started to walk away (or should I say lurk) slowly.”
The woman said she then got a store security guard, who said he would look into it.
“As I was checking out, the security guard came over to me and thanked me for saying something, admitted that he's definitely a creep, and said that he told the guard he was ‘looking for his daughter.’ (If you can't find your CHILD, wouldn't you contact customer service instead of following me?),” she wrote.
She said she then went to her car and saw the suspicious man come outside, walk to the side of the building, smoke a cigarette and go back inside the store.
“Thought your daughter was lost somewhere inside the store?” she wrote. “After a few minutes, he went BACK INSIDE THE STORE. No carriage. No items. No bags. Just going back in to make another round.”
She wrote that she called Dartmouth Police, who met her in the parking lot and were “aware of the situation.” She also said she had recently seen the film Sound of Freedom, which is about child sex trafficking.
“I'm shaking. Especially after watching Sound of Freedom, this is fresh in my mind and makes me sick that this can truly happen anywhere,” she wrote. “Don't think it's never going to happen to you. Be aware of your surroundings at ALL times. Listen to your intuition. Don't be afraid to speak up and say something. You just never know.”
Dartmouth Police responded with their own Facebook post letting the public know there was no cause for alarm.
“We've received some inquiries today regarding a post that is currently making its way around social media,” police posted. “The post in question is associated with someone feeling uncomfortable about the way that a man was acting at a local retail store.”
“Upon officers responding to the store, it was determined that the male in question did not commit any crime,” they wrote.
Police wrote that “though we take every suspicious person call seriously, simply being suspicious in Massachusetts is not a crime.”
Police said that they “respect everyone’s First Amendment privilege” to post and share such stories on social media, but “we do caution all about posting stories on the socials that are fraught with personal viewpoints and presumptions about what they think an individual is going to do, in particular those associated with abduction and human trafficking, as this does nothing more than generate potentially harmful rumors and cause unnecessary stress for others.”
The post did commend the woman for contacting police immediately because it is “easier for (them) to address a particular issue as it is actively occurring.”
“As always, if you do not feel comfortable about a suspicious individual in a store, parking lot, public venue, etc., please call the police immediately for assistance,” police wrote.
In March 2022, Wareham Police responded on social media to dispel a Facebook rumor that children were being kidnapped “all the time” from the Wareham Target.
Then, of course, there are the ongoing “Mother God” posts that seem to have quieted down in recent years.